QotD: “When we men denigrate women … we are merely being universal”

Miss Stewart’s seventh volume of poetry is crammed with reductionist simplistic snippets of women’s lib cant. In describing a series of male/female encounters in which women are injured, raped, maimed, Stuart is unsympathetic to male needs. Individual poems stress only the women’s role and anguish, instead of taking a balanced view. Only the poems about good sex transcend this morbid polemical bias. When we men denigrate women, compare them to mud, death, meat, sows, sloughs, sewers, traps, toilets, when we equate them with mortality, contingency, nature, when we put down women who put out and women who don’t, we are merely being universal. Miss Stewart is guilty of special pleading. In art there can be no special pleading for women. Her poetry is uterine and devoid of thrust. Her volume is wet, menstruates and carries a purse in which it can’t find anything.

Marge Piercy, Braided Lives, 1982

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